Upcoming Events

2014-2015 Officer Installation Ceremony

September 11, 2014
6:30 PM to 8:00 PM

DC Superior Court- Room 113
500 Indiana Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001

Judge Fern Flanagan Saddler will administer the oath

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Year End Member Spotlight

As our bar year comes to a close, we are honoring two members for their hard work and dedication to GWAC and serving the community.  Please read more about Brandes Ash and Valerie Evans-Harrell, 2013-2014 co-chairs of Community Outreach Committee.


Brandes Ash

Currently, Brandes Ash serves as Co-Chair of the Community Outreach Committee of the Greater Washington Area Chapter of the National Bar Association’s Women’s Lawyer’s Division.  She was also recently elected to a three-year term on the DC Bar Family Law Section Steering Committee.  She has been Washington Bar Association Young Lawyer's Division Member of the Month and is also a member of the Young Alumni Association of Virginia Commonwealth University.   

Brandes is an Assistant Attorney General in the Child Support Services Division of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. Previously, she served as a judicial law clerk in Prince George’s County Circuit Court.  In that capacity, she also worked as the Executive Director of Rising S.T.A.R.S., a mentoring and academic preparatory academy for youth in contact with the juvenile court system, and coordinated a well-attended countywide Teen Dating Violence Summit.  

In 2011, Brandes earned her law degree, and Family Law Certificate, from Howard University School of Law.  Prior to graduation, Brandes completed coursework in Madrid, Spain with William and Mary School of Law.  Brandes also holds a Master's in Public Administration from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Virginia Commonwealth University.

In law school, Brandes served as Howard Family Law Society’s first Community Service Chair, and later as the organization’s President.  Brandes assumed an active role in many public interest efforts as well being named, at one time, Howard University School of Law's Public Interest Student of the Year.  She was also awarded fellowships from Howard University School Law, the Hispanic Bar Association of D.C., and Equal Justice Works. 

Brandes attends Reid Temple A.M.E. Church, in Silver Spring, MD.  Brandes is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.  In her spare time, Brandes enjoys singing, reading, and spending time with loved ones and dog Bello. 



Valerie Evans-Harrell 

Valerie Evans-Harrell serves as co-chair of the Community Outreach Committee, focusing on the Washington Center for Aging Services portion, and is known as the “Bingo Lady.”  Valerie became a member of GWAC during former GWAC president Grace Speights’ administration, an alumnus of GWU.  She immediately joined the Community Outreach Committee (COC) and was active in the mentoring program at Malcolm X Elementary School in Anacostia, which was later expanded to a tutorial program under former GWAC president Cheryl Ziegler Ragland.  She tutored for eight years while serving either as a co-chair or chair of COC, during various administrations.  She represented GWAC for approximately 18 years on the Resident Community Advisory Board (RCAB), which was formerly the 501 (c)(3) charitable arm for the Washington Center for Aging Services (WCAS) in Northeast, DC.  During this time she was instrumental in GWAC’s active participation in fundraising ventures to purchase buses, planters containing non-toxic dirt, and other needed items to improve the quality of life for WCAS residents.  While on the COC, she concurrently served on the Bylaws Committee in the early days of her GWAC membership.

Valerie is a Native New Yorker, who received her B.A. from Hunter College-City University of New York (CUNY) and her JD from The National Law Center-George Washington University.  She is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, District of Columbia Court of Appeals, U.S.C.A. D.C. Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.  She is a career federal government employee, having worked in various federal agencies.  At the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), where she remains employed, having spent an overwhelmingly part of her career, she worked her way up from a student legal trainee to Division Chief, Supervisory Attorney-Advisor with the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board.  During her tenure, she received a temporary appointment under the leadership of former Secretary of Labor, Alexis Herman, to serve as an Alternate Judge.  With special permission from DOL’s Ethics division, Valerie worked part-time for eight years in an African-American firm, Anderson & O’Bryant in Northwest DC, practicing personal injury law.

Valerie was also a member of GWAC Foundation, Inc., where she served as recording secretary for a couple of terms.  She actively participated in the annual auction either donating time, items or money.  She continues to support it financially.

Valerie is an active member of Asbury United Methodist Church, NW Washington, DC, currently serving on the Staff Pastor Relations Committee and is the parent representative in the Sunday School.  She is a proud Life Member of both, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and the NAACP.  She is also the proud wife of Durand Harrell, who is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the Mother of a teenaged-middle schooler DuVal Evans Harrell, who has been “calling Bingo” or distributing prizes during “Bingo Nights” at WCAS since he was about 4 years old.



Please click here to view pictures from our 2013-2014 Judicial Reception.


Message From The President

Greetings and Welcome to the Greater Washington Area Chapter, Women Lawyers Division, National Bar Association (GWAC)!  As we approach our 40th year, we are committed to building on the achievements of our organization and continuing to advance the interests of African American women attorneys in the D.C. metropolitan area.

I am honored to serve as the President of our organization and I along with a strong Board of Directors will strive to make this organization responsive to its members.  We have worked hard to provide opportunities for networking, as well as programming focused on equipping our membership with the tools needed to succeed in today’s challenging legal environment.

I am very proud to be a part of GWAC and I hope you will join me in continuing our rich legacy of community service and experience all that GWAC has to offer.  There are many ways to get connected and become involved.  I invite you to become active in planning and implementing our services, programs and events, by joining a committee, or by volunteering to help with an event. For more information about GWAC, please peruse our website or email info@gwacbar.org.

Kind regards,

Shara Chang

President, GWAC